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From the Magazine

Out for a Sunday Ride

Out for a Sunday Ride

Civilian Pilots Caught in History’s Path Six civilian aircraft were airborne during the Pearl Harbor attack. Three were students with their instructors, and three were rented by sightseeing pilots and passengers. All but one came under attack by Japanese aircraft. Two planes were shot down, and those three airmen are still missing. In Hawaii, the […]
Banshee Wail!

Banshee Wail!

Flying Skulls over Burma By the time I graduated from high school in Oklahoma during 1940 at the ripe old age of 19, I could see that the United States was going to get dragged into a world war. I had grown up in a farming family during the Great Depression and had felt the […]

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Mitchells in the Med

Mitchells in the Med

Wavetop warfare: Skip-bombing and Big Guns When the North American NA-62, officially dubbed B-25, first flew in August of 1940, it was less than a roaring success. The UK and France had just chosen the smaller Douglas DB-7 Boston (A-20 Havoc) attack bomber over the North American design. However, in the years leading up to […]
Like Father, Like Son – Confessions of a second-generation fighter pilot

Like Father, Like Son – Confessions of a second-generation fighter pilot

There were two things that got me interested in aviation while I was a kid growing up in the 1930s, model airplanes and my father Howard. My dad, of course, was the bigger influence, not because of his job in the banking business, but what he accomplished years before I was even born. Although he […]

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The First Bridge – The Vietnam War Had to Start Somewhere

The First Bridge – The Vietnam War Had to Start Somewhere

General Curtis E. LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff, was not happy. First line U.S. fighters had been in South East Asia in small numbers since 1960. By mid-1964, more fighters began rotating through bases in South Vietnam and Thailand, as a show of force. Reconnaissance missions, with a pair of fighters as escorts, known […]
D-Day: Planning the  Aerial  Assault

D-Day: Planning the Aerial Assault

Today the numbers involved in Operation Overlord are unthinkable: 6,000 bombers, more than 5,000 fighters, some 1,600 transport aircraft, and 2,500 gliders. All crammed into scores of airfields throughout Britain, but mainly in southern England. All were serviced, armed, and assigned aircrews, eager to take off on the day called “D.” That spring, the American […]

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Maxim Machine Gun – A revolutionary advance in weaponry

Maxim Machine Gun – A revolutionary advance in weaponry

If you do an Internet search for “chattering Spandaus,” you only get 89 hits, but that stock phrase has become synonymous with World War I aviation. Generations of moviegoers have seen the image: the leering Teutonic ace, hard eyes gleaming behind squared-off goggles above the blazing muzzles. The fact is that there is no such […]
Rocket Mail – It seemed like a good idea at the time

Rocket Mail – It seemed like a good idea at the time

Even in these days of the Internet, sending paper mail by airplane remains a major part of everyday life. The early efforts to build upon airmail and experiment with rocket mail, however, never quite caught on. There had been earlier efforts at home and abroad, usually over short distances and using handcrafted rockets. It all came […]

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Don’t Worry about It!

Don’t Worry about It!

On January 23, 2010, a retired Air Force officer died in San Diego, California, age 96. His name was Kermit A. Tyler. For most of his life, he was one of the least understood players in the Pearl Harbor tragedy. On December 7, 1941, Tyler was the officer who told radar operators plotting a large […]
Pacemaker:  Bellanca’s 1929 Heavy Hauler

Pacemaker: Bellanca’s 1929 Heavy Hauler

An old workhorse goes back to work We only have roads into town three months of the year, while all the lakes and rivers are frozen. Otherwise the only way into Norman Wells and many of the other communities around us is by airplane. Usually float planes. That’s why I had the Bellanca CH-300 restored. […]
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